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Thursday, 2 November, 2000, 16:36 GMT
Newcastle 4-3 Bradford
The fireworks arrived four days early on Tyneside as Newcastle and Bradford staged a seven-goal Worthington Cup thriller.
United blasted their way into a seemingly impregnable 3-0 lead in a devastating six-minute first-half spell as Alan Shearer collected his fourth and fifth goals of the season either side of a Daniel Cordone strike.
And although Ian Nolan pulled one back before the break, there was not hint of what was to come.
But City boss Chris Hutchings sent on Ashley Ward and Dean Saunders at the break in place of Stan Collymore and Benito Carbone, and the game changed completely.
Ward scored twice as Newcastle wobbled drastically and was only denied a hat-trick by Steve Harper's vital 86th-minute block.
And it was left to 20-year-old defender Steven Caldwell, making his first senior start for the Magpies, to win it 18 minutes from time as the home side got away with it to book a fourth round clash with last season's conquerors Birmingham City.
Newcastle boss Bobby Robson was forced into two changes and made one more to the side beaten at West Ham on Saturday.
In-form defender Aaron Hughes was a late withdrawal through illness, and that opened the door for Scottish Under-21 international captain Caldwell, while the cup-tied Lomana Lua Lua was replaced by Cordone.
Shearer had already just failed to connect with a Cordone cross and the Argentinian had shot over on the turn when Nolberto Solano warmed Davison's hands with a wickedly curling 12-minute shot, but there was much more to come.
The United skipper finally made the mounting pressure tell with 22 minutes gone when he was first to react after Davison had parried Cordone's shot, slotting home forcefully from close range to open the scoring.
Solano and Dyer both went close before Cordone got his reward on 27 minutes, sliding in at the far post to convert the Peruvian's lethal cross with the keeper well beaten.
And Davison found himself picking the ball out of the net once again a minute later when, with the City defence in disarray, Solano was allowed time and space at the far post to pick out Shearer and provide him with a regulation header to make it three.
The floodgates had been blasted apart, but just as the home supporters started to lick their lips in anticipation of a massacre, the visitors hit back.
Shearer's back-pass caused confusion between Caldwell and Alain Goma at the back and Nolan took full advantage as he sprinted through to shoot past Harper and reduce the deficit.
Newcastle's play was sloppy as they attempted to find top gear once again, and Italian Benito Carbone tested Harper with a cheeky right-foot shot four minutes before the break to keep him on his toes. But if the first-half had been eventful, the second was even more so as the Bantams staged a remarkable comeback.
Hutchings replaced the ineffectual Collymore and Carbone with Ward and Saunders at the break, and the move paid dividends almost immediately.
Kieron Dyer had squandered a good chance to put his side 4-1 up when, with 57 minutes gone, Dan Petrescu cashed in on Harper's misjudgment to lob a ball into the box which Ward headed into an empty net to put his side right back in it.
And it was all square on 70 minutes when Petrescu was again allowed to cross from the right and Ward deflected the ball past Harper once again to the delight of his team-mates.
However, the joy in the Yorkshire camp was short-lived as, just two minutes later, Caldwell marked his big night in style by thumping Cordone's corner past Davison to restore the lead.
Harper redeemed himself four minutes from time with a point-blank save to deny Ward a hat-trick and help confirm his side's place in the fourth round.
Newcastle: Harper, Goma, Acuna, Lee, Dyer, Shearer, Speed, Griffin, Solano, Cordone, S. Caldwell. Subs: Given, Domi, Bassedas, Glass, Ameobi.
Bradford: Davison, Nolan, Wetherall, Whalley, Lawrence, Carbone, Windass, Sharpe, Atherton, Petrescu, Collymore. Subs: McCall, Ward, Saunders, Grant, Worsnop.
Referee: M Dean (The Wirral)
05 Sep 00 | SOL
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